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The BITSAVERS.ORG Documents Library: Symbolics

Symbolics refers to two companies: now-defunct computer manufacturer Symbolics, Inc., and a privately held company that acquired the assets of the former company and continues to sell and maintain the Open Genera Lisp system and the Macsyma computer algebra system.

Symbolics, Inc. was a computer manufacturer headquartered in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and later in Concord, Massachusetts, with manufacturing facilities in Chatsworth, California (a suburban section of Los Angeles). Its first CEO, chairman, and founder was Russell Noftsker. Symbolics designed and manufactured a line of Lisp machines, single-user computers optimized to run the Lisp programming language. Symbolics also made significant advances in software technology, and offered one of the premier software development environments of the 1980s and 1990s, now sold commercially as Open Genera for Tru64 UNIX on the HP Alpha. The Lisp Machine was the first commercially available "workstation" (although that word had not yet been coined).

Symbolics was a spinoff from the MIT AI Lab, one of two companies to be founded by AI Lab staffers and associated hackers for the purpose of manufacturing Lisp machines. The other was Lisp Machines, Inc., although Symbolics attracted most of the hackers, and more funding.

Symbolics' initial product, the LM-2 (introduced in 1981), was a repackaged version of the MIT CADR Lisp machine design. The operating system and software development environment, over 500,000 lines, was written in Lisp from the microcode up, based on MIT's Lisp Machine Lisp.

The software bundle was later renamed ZetaLisp, to distinguish the Symbolics' product from other vendors who had also licensed the MIT software. Symbolics' Zmacs text editor, a variant of Emacs, was implemented in a text-processing package named "ZWEI", an acronym for "Zwei was Eine initially" — "Eine" being an acronym for "Eine Is Not Emacs" (both recursive acronyms and puns on the German words for "One" ("Eins", "Eine") and "Two" ("Zwei")).

The Lisp Machine system software was then copyrighted by MIT, and was licensed to Symbolics. Until 1981, they shared all the source code with MIT and kept it on an MIT server. According to a Symbolics employee, the reason for the change in policy was Richard Stallman's making changes with which they disagreed, such as removing Symbolics' copyright notices on Symbolics' produced enhancements and transferring the resulting enhancements to the other commercial licensees, and at one point leaving the software in a state where it would not compile.[citation needed] Richard Stallman's account claims Symbolics engaged in a business tactic in which it forced MIT to make all fixes and improvements to the Lisp Machine OS available only to it, and thereby choke off its competitor LMI, which at that time had insufficient resources to independently maintain or develop the OS and environment.

Symbolics felt that they no longer had sufficient control over their product. At that point, Symbolics began using their own copy of the software, located on their company servers — while Stallman says that Symbolics did that to prevent its Lisp improvements from flowing to Lisp Machines, Inc. From that base, Symbolics made extensive improvements to every part of the software, and continued to deliver almost all the source code to their customers (including MIT). However, the policy prohibited MIT staff from distributing the Symbolics version of the software to others. With the end of open collaboration came the end of the MIT hacker community. As a reaction to this, Stallman initiated the GNU project to make a new community. Eventually, Copyleft and the GNU General Public License would ensure that a hacker's software could remain free software. In this way Symbolics played a key, albeit adversarial, role in instigating the free software movement.

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TOPIC
file 61
function 49
symbolics 49
lisp 45
command 44
file system 30
genera 30
special form 24
host 21
common lisp 19
fep 19
lisp machine 18
default 17
software 16
system 16
user 16
data 15
files 15
menu item 15
namespace 15
zmacs 15
commands 14
input editor 13
option 13
returns 13
fep file 12
flavor 12
generic function 12
menu 12
symbol 12
variable 12
zmacs command 12
buffer 11
command processor 11
disk 11
document examiner 11
function returns 11
program 11
server 11
documentation 10
memory 10
symbolics common 10
user interface 10
data type 9
functions 9
namespace server 9
network 9
processor 9
changed definitions 8
character 8
message 8
pathname 8
stack 8
unix 8
address 7
chaosnet 7
color 7
interface 7
list 7
method 7
mouse 7
stream 7
sys sys 7
type 7
array 6
boot file 6
character style 6
editor menu 6
ethernet 6
fep command 6
fonts fonts 6
init option 6
instance variables 6
lisp listener 6
load system 6
output 6
package 6
printed representation 6
release 6
site 6
standard time 6
string 6
symbolic processing 6
topic 6
window 6
window system 6
common 5
compiler warnings 5
define site 5
development tools 5
generic network 5
input 5
machine 5
maclvory 5
main memory 5
method combination 5
microcode 5
notes 5
numeric argument 5
object attribute 5
presentation type 5
reference guide 5
release notes 5
software installation 5
special forms 5
symbolics computers 5
text 5
type load 5
zmail 5
zmail command 5
argument 4
arguments 4
character set 4
clos 4
compiled code 4
current message 4
data types 4
debugger 4
digital unix 4
editor 4
environment 4
font editor 4
garbage collection 4
garbage collector 4
generic 4
init file 4
installation 4
installation guide 4
ivory 4
keyword 4
keyword arguments 4
local host 4
namespace object 4
network system 4
open genera 4
presentation 4
program development 4
property list 4
protocol 4
stack group 4
symbolic 4
symbolics computer 4
system menu 4
tcp 4
tools 4
unix file 4
virtual memory 4
zetalisp 4
zmacs commands 4
attribute list 3
august 3
cdr code 3
changes 3
chaos 3
chaosnet software 3
click left 3
clim 3
code 3
color system 3
command zmacs 3
connection 3
data structures 3
directory 3
flavors 3
garbage 3
genera software 3
generic functions 3
host object 3
integer indices 3
internet 3
keyboard 3
lisp function 3
loop keyword 3
mail 3
mail file 3
mbyte 3
megabyte 3
memory control 3
methods 3
mouse cursor 3
mouse documentation 3
namespace system 3
nil 3
numeric 3
object 3
open 3
patch 3
presentation types 3
process 3
processing 3
screen 3
select 3
service service 3
software environment 3
source code 3
symbolics nfs 3
sys 3
sys host 3
system maintenance 3
table 3
LANGUAGE
english 129
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From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Editing and Mail
Topics: file, command, message, buffer, zmail, zmacs, mail, commands, current, numeric, numeric argument,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: 3600 series :: Symbolics 3600 Series Basic Field Maint Jul86
Topics: symbolics, disk, lisp, color, fep, switch, pcb, tape, paddle, token, software installation, host...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Common Lisp Interface Manager CLIM Release 2.0
Topics: clim, function, command, returns, presentation, stream, output, type, input, object, generic...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: open genera :: Symbolics Common Lisp Dictionary
Topics: function, returns, nil, string, list, symbol, argument, table, character, arguments, function...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: MacIvory User s Guide
Topics: macintosh, lisp, maclvory, genera, ivory, function, rpc, file, symbolics, keyboard, lisp function,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Open Genera Installation Guide
Topics: genera, namespace, documentation, topic, host, lisp, document, symbolics, candidates, command, open...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Open Genera User s Guide
Topics: genera, unix, host, user, file, symbolics, open, default, command, interface, open genera, digital...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Site Operations
Topics: file, command, fep, namespace, files, default, host, system, printer, symbolics, file system, fep...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Programming the User Interface
Topics: presentation, command, mouse, window, program, menu, function, output, input, type, presentation...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: patents :: 4887235 3600 patent
Topics: data, lei, ubi, code, address, microcode, ion, memory, tbi, stack, ubi tbi, ubi tbl, instruct ion,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: 3600 series :: Lisp Machine Hardware Memos
Topics: lbus, data, memory, address, fep, microcode, disk, stack, clock, paddle, lbus dev, physical...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: open genera :: Symbolics Common Lisp Programming Constructs
Topics: flavor, method, function, generic, package, methods, symbol, instance, default, stream, generic...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: 3600 series :: 3600 TechnicalSummary Feb83
Topics: lisp, symbolics, memory, summary, technical, processor, system, file, flavor, stack, technical...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: open genera :: Symbolics Common Lisp Language Concepts
Topics: returns, function, lisp, functions, array, list, character, common, symbol, string, common lisp,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: User Interface Dictionary
Topics: function, default, option, presentation, specifies, input, returns, user, window, stream,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: release 4 :: Introduction to Lisp on the Lisp Machine Rel 4.5 Jan84
Topics: lisp, introduction, student, machine, december, notes, function, flavor, symbol, functions, lisp...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: 990001 pgmDevel Aug83
Topics: program, lisp, function, flavor, coordinates, techniques, stripe, tools, output, lgp, development...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 7 :: 999006 Reference Guide to Streams Files and IO Aug86
Topics: file, pathname, function, stream, input, character, directory, files, message, streams, file...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Program Development Utilities
Topics: function, file, metering, pathname, default, command, lisp, system, debugger, files, common lisp,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Genera 8.1 Software Installation Guide
Topics: genera, unix, symbolics, file, fep, software, maclvory, disk, namespace, files, unix software, file...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Internals
Topics: function, disk, process, garbage, memory, array, returns, data, default, stack, garbage collection,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: release 5 :: 1B Release Notes Mar84
Topics: release, function, command, file, fep, option, lisp, changes, notes, host, release notes, patch...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: release 6 :: 996075 Programming the User Interface Mar85
Topics: option, method, window, function, init, flavor, user, menu, variable, command, init option, user...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 7 :: 999005 Networks Jun86
Topics: network, host, namespace, object, server, user, attribute, data, nfile, token, object attribute,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 7 :: 999023 System Index Aug86
Topics: command, function, option, zmacs, menu, file, variable, zmail, method, system, zmacs command, menu...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Genera User s Guide
Topics: command, default, lisp, file, commands, documentation, mouse, displays, processor, menu, command...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Genera Handbook
Topics: command, default, output, keywords, processing, file, subject, destination, pathname, typeout,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 7 :: 999019 Symbolics Common Lisp Language Dictionary Aug86
Topics: function, symbolics, returns, common, language, nil, string, list, symbol, table, symbolics common,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Symbolics Common Lisp Programming Constructs
Topics: flavor, method, function, generic, package, methods, symbol, instance, default, stream, generic...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 7 :: 999017 Users Guide To Symbolics Computers Jul86
Topics: command, commands, file, zmacs, default, lisp, function, documentation, symbolics, processor,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: 3600 series :: 990075 Lisp Machine Summary 3600 Edition Aug83
Topics: lisp, mouse, machine, fep, summary, edition, select, commands, menu, august, lisp machine, machine...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Genera 8.0 ECO 1 Notes
Topics: vmebus, slave, genera, address, interface, interrupt, ivory, eco, data, buffer, slave buffer,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Networks
Topics: server, host, network, data, file, user, token, symbolics, protocol, nfile, token list, user side,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: 3600 series :: Site Maintenance Genera 7 0 Dec86
Topics: fep, file, lisp, lmfs, site, maintenance, backup, edit, files, tape, site maintenance, backup tape,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: NXP1000 User s Guide
Topics: keyboard, genera, serial, symbolics, nxp, nxpiooo, tcp, command, screen, key, keyboard layout, sun...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: release 5 :: 3A Lisp Language Mar84
Topics: function, array, returns, list, form, special, functions, variable, symbol, keyword, special form,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Symbolics Common Lisp Dictionary
Topics: function, returns, nil, string, list, symbol, argument, table, character, arguments, function...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: brochures :: LM-2
Topics: cpu, megabyte, chaosnet, color, consists, memory, disk, interface, terminal, virtual, disk drive
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: brochures :: 3640 Jul84
Topics: symbolics, software, zetalisp, megabyte, optional, networked, drive, expandable, megabytes,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: release 5 :: 4B Program Development Tools
Topics: zmacs, command, file, buffer, commands, function, february, debugger, dired, lisp, zmacs command,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Genera Workbook
Topics: command, file, lisp, commands, press, cursor, mouse, text, select, buffer, command processor, lisp...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 7 :: 999025 Programming the User Interface Sep86
Topics: presentation, facilities, command, user, option, default, type, function, output, program,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 7 :: 999018 Symbolics Common Lisp Language Concepts Aug86
Topics: flavor, function, functions, symbolics, returns, symbol, august, lisp, common, type, symbolics...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: LM-2 :: Operating the Lisp Machine
Topics: lisp, mouse, die, window, clicking, editor, menu, terminal, typing, windows, lisp machine, lisp...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Program Development Tutorial
Topics: lisp, buffer, function, command, zmacs, edit, code, file, commands, definitions, command summary,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: release 5 :: 3B Lisp Language Mar84
Topics: flavor, function, package, symbol, option, message, macro, symbols, functions, defstruct, special...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 7 :: 999021 Program Development Utilities Aug86
Topics: command, zmacs, function, debugger, program, file, august, code, patch, lisp, zmacs command,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 7 :: 999007 Site Operations Jun86
Topics: file, fep, command, system, disk, files, menu, operations, microcode, maintenance, file system,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: brochures :: 3670 May84
Topics: symbolics, symbolic, seek, software, megabyte, zetalisp, mbyte, processor, disk, bpi, symbolic...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: User s Guide to Symbolics C
Topics: function, returns, file, search, command, char, string, lisp, int, mode, search list, include...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Open Genera Beta II Release Notes
Topics: genera, open, beta, tcp, unix, remove, installing, lisp, digital, file, open genera, service...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Genera 8.3 Software Installation Guide for the NXP1000
Topics: genera, namespace, documentation, symbolics, server, topic, file, host, sys, command, document...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 7 :: 999029 Programming the User Interface Volume B Aug86
Topics: option, window, method, function, user, init, flavor, menu, variable, command, init option, window...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: LM-2 :: LM-2 Unibus IO Sep81
Topics: unibus, xbus, location, chaosnet, write, slot, slots, locations, devices, unibus location, vector...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Genera 8.1 Release Notes
Topics: file, fep, command, genera, statice, default, system, color, loop, symbolics, file system, statice...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: release 6 :: 996115 System Index Mar85
Topics: command, function, zmacs, option, method, variable, menu, file, zmail, flavor, zmacs command, menu...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Genera Concepts
Topics: genera, file, software, program, data, lisp, system, delete, symbolics, command, delete file, data...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: release 6 :: 996025 Reference Guide to Symbolics-Lisp Mar85
Topics: function, flavor, package, returns, symbol, special, march, array, functions, macro, special form,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Genera 8.0 Release Notes
Topics: genera, command, file, symbolics, lisp, fep, commands, clos, boot, files, common lisp, user...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: brochures :: 3600 Jul83
Topics: system, symbolics, programming, user, symbolic, display, software, fep, cpu, processing, symbolic...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Symbolics Common Lisp Language Concepts
Topics: returns, function, lisp, functions, array, list, character, common, symbol, string, common lisp,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: LM-2 :: Symbolics Software 1981
Topics: lisp, zetalisp, file, symbolics, system, zmacs, commands, user, text, program, file system,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: release 6 :: 996015 Users Guide to Symbolics Computers Mar85
Topics: command, file, zmacs, commands, lisp, fep, function, default, documentation, processor, command...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: I Machine :: Lisp-Machine Data Types
Topics: data, object, array, types, type, address, cdr, header, word, stored, data types, data type, object...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: history :: Symbolics Overview 1986
Topics: symbolics, software, color, mbyte, genera, lisp, symbolic, graphics, ethernet, memory, mbyte fixed,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: brochures :: 3600 Networking Sep83
Topics: symbolics, network, user, ethernet, vax, node, tenex, color, networks, symbolics network, network...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: MacIvory Delivery User s Manual
Topics: maclvory, disk, ivory, macintosh, delivery, fep, partition, file, genera, software, maclvory...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 8 :: Genera 8.3 Release Notes
Topics: genera, clos, statice, lisp, flavors, bug, dpans, file, maclvory, keyword, common lisp, dpans...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: brochures :: Plexi 1989
Topics: network, plexi, neural, symbolics, transfer, networks, dddd, ddd, activation, connections, neural...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 7 :: 999020 Text Editing and Processing Jul86
Topics: zmacs, command, file, buffer, text, commands, font, character, lisp, editor, zmacs command, font...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: release 6 :: 996045 Program Development Utilities Feb85
Topics: command, zmacs, program, function, file, debugger, tools, techniques, development, patch, zmacs...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: brochures :: 3600 1982
Topics: symbolics, software, lisp, system, color, ethernet, mbyte, interactive, graphics
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: genera 7 :: 999002 Software Installation Guide and Primer Rel 7 Aug86
Topics: genera, namespace, site, software, installation, file, symbolics, machine, command, server,...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: release 5 :: 4A Program Development Tools
Topics: program, lisp, function, flavor, tools, zmacs, buffer, coordinates, techniques, stripe, program...
From the bitsavers.org collection, a scanned-in computer-related document.symbolics :: software :: release 6 :: 996095 Networks Mar85
Topics: network, chaosnet, packet, protocol, qfile, host, function, attribute, namespace, connection,...